My husband loves old stuff. I hope this will be a good thing when I am in my 80s. He will have his very own living, breathing ‘relic’. What he really loves, is broken, old, stuff. When we first met, he lived in a wooden house with a porch in west Hollywood. You could sit on the veranda like a 1950s American prom girl waiting for her date. He’d rented the house when it was falling down and no one else would touch it. And then, he’d fixed it up. As a result, while most of our friends lived in small apartments in weho or Venice, Peter had an enormous house just off Sunset where we all threw parties and he could listen to his Motörhead vinyl so loudly that once, some nearby dwelling Hells Angels came by to ask him to turn it down.
And so buying a house in France equals peter’s dream. But one of the best things about trying to furnish this house is our weekly visits to vide greniers. Like car boot sales only much much better as each one holds prospect of hidden gems. Held on sunday mornings and publicised in the local areas as if Justin Beiber was playing a one off gig there with posters EVERYWHERE in the weeks beforhand. or you can visit http://www.vide-greniers.org And our kids LOVE them. Maybe in the way some boys inherit their father’s sporting prowess or love of a particular football team, peters legacy to his sons will be a love of broken, old tat.
We give them five euros each and some basic French ( enough to bargain someone down for old Pokemon cards – far more useful than a level French right?) and send them off. Meanwhile, Peter and I trawl these aladdin’s caves of wonder hoping to find stuff to fill our home that isn’t from ikea!
We’ve introduced all friends who come and stay to the joy of the vide grenier (some more impressed than others – my friend lorraine remains thrilled with her olive server complete with toothpick holder shaped like lily pad, her husband James, less thrilled with the fourteen pony club trophies their kids bought)
We have over the years bought everything from our dining chairs to tennis racquets. Plates shaped like fish (never used) to fire irons to hold our logs (used every day). And Now I’m going to share with you a selection of vide grenier jewels. Vintage finds or other people’s rubbish? Tat or treasure? To us, always the latter.